Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's council picks up folk festival tab

The city of St. John's is covering the cost for the folk festival's rental of the Mile One Centre.

The city of St. John's is covering the cost of the folk festival's rental of Mile One Centre.

Festival organizers were forced to move the event indoors Saturday evening after cancelling Saturday afternoon events. Heavy rains and high winds washed-out Bannerman Park, and city Councillor Danny Breen said council agreed to pick up the bill for the last minute venue change.

"Because the technical work was all provided by the promoter, the stage was already there and those things. It's just really staff costs. And so we, you know, council has decided to absorb that."

The Folk Arts Council will still lose money, since it didn't have beer tent revenue coming in, but holding the festival in Bannerman Park wouldn't have been safe, said festival co-organizer Anita Best.

"On Friday night we actually had lightning that hit the stage and blew up some of the lights," she said.

Organizers say the last-minute move to Mile One was pulled off with the help of many people who showed how strongly they feel about the festival.

"35 years it's been going on, and people feel a real sense of ownership of it," she said.

Festival organizers aren't sure yet how much money was lost due to the weather; and while organizers say they will have to do a lot more fundraising, they also said the show will go ahead next year.

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